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Lightning Strikes Spark New Lenox Fires

NEW LENOX, Ill. (CBS) -- The southwest suburbs weren't spared from Tuesday's stormy weather.
Multiple hits in one town kept the fire department busy, reports CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot.

The fire department in New Lenox says it got help from neighboring departments to handle the calls.

"I heard a big explosion. I turned around and my barn started on fire," said John Clarida.

Clarida says lightning was responsible for that loud boom and blaze that started burning, on this wall of his barn.

"One of the brightest lights I've ever seen, 'cause I was standing here and all of a sudden it just lit up," he said.

Clarida used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. He says he called the fire department to make sure there was no smoldering under the siding right next to his propane tanks. Clarida runs TML Refinishing out of his barn.

"There is 200 pound tanks and another few inches or, let it go. It could have exploded. My whole shop is full of chemicals," said Clarida. "So yes. I am definitely counting my blessings."

Another person counting their blessings is the owner of one New Lenox home on Spinnaker Drive. The owner says lightening hit the roof, entered the attic, then blew apart the insulation in the master bathroom ceiling, scattering it everywhere.

The New Lenox Fire Protection District had three phone calls in 15 minutes and all three were for lightning strikes.

"Usually it happens every fifth or sixth storm that comes through, you get lightning strikes at all. To have three of them back to back is even rarer than that," said Battalion Chief Adam Riegel of the New Lenox Fire Protection District.

The New Lenox Fire Protection District had help from neighboring departments, to respond to all those calls.

The chief says one thing you should never do during a thunderstorm is take a shower. He says if lightning hits your home, the water could become energized.

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